In Sarah Jone’s new Instagram Live show, #yesimsarahjones, audiences can meet a character they’ve never before met in one of her stage shows: Jones herself. For the first time, the writer-performer, best known for the wide array of characters she’s portrayed in productions including “Sell/Buy/Date” and her Tony-winning Broadway entry “Bridge & Tunnel,” adds her own personal voice to the mix.
Listen to this week’s “Stagecraft” podcast below:
“I don’t know what it is about maybe our confessional culture, but because people do feel comfortable turning on their camera and sharing their innermost thoughts, in the moment when I was gripped by this, it just almost felt like a mandate,” said the writer-performer (“A Marriage Story,” “SMILF“) of her IG show (streaming every Wednesday), and of the choice to include herself alongside the fictional characters that theater fans will recognize from her theater productions.
Jones was prodded to action by the upheavals of the last several weeks, including the coronavirus pandemic, the murder of George Floyd and the uprisings that have occurred in its wake. Speaking on the latest episode of Variety theater podcast Stagecraft, she explained, “I just thought, ‘I cannot process this on my own.’ And then I thought, ‘Well, maybe I don’t have to.’ “
Jones mostly improvises during these shows, riffing on her own reaction to the day’s news as well as on the reactions of her characters — who, she joked, “live rent-free” in her head.
“I let the characters have at it,” she said. “What do they care about? I may pick the topics, but they may disagree with what I think is important.” Among familiar characters like Lorraine, Bella and Rashid, she added, “It’s an interesting kind of lucha libre.”
Also on the new episode of Stagecraft, Jones noted that she, as a solo performer, is uniquely suited to social-distanced theater, and that theater industry pros have already contacted her about the possibility of a return to the stage. She also discussed the power dynamics at play when she portrays characters across all races and backgrounds, and talked about what it’s like to get personal with fans during her Instagram shows.
“I’ve never been so transparent about how racism has impacted my career,” she said.
New episodes of “Stagecraft” are available biweekly during the summer, with a weekly scheduling resuming this fall. Download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and anywhere finer podcasts are dispensed. Find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.